How The Avengers Would've Handled X-Men’s Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix and Captain America from Avengers: Endgame

Don’t you just love hypothetical comic book match-ups? They’re fun to dream up and they test your knowledge in military tactics, comic book knowledge and whether or not the pre-required teammates can translate their box office success into battlefield readiness.

In the case of the battle we’re about to hypothetically wage, it might be the greatest test of all of those factors, as we’re about to see what would happen if a select team of Marvel’s team from The Avengers franchise squared off in an endgame against one of the X-Men series’ most lethal threats: the Dark Phoenix herself.

We’re not talking box office grosses here either, as this fight is sheerly superpowered. So place your bets, crack open your liquid refreshment of choice and let’s see how Jean Grey would fare against a select team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

Captain America: Civil War The Avengers divided, facing off

How Could The Avengers Fight Dark Phoenix

Last time on “CinemaBlend’s Comic Clashes,” Superman and the Justice League fought the mighty Thanos, in a conflagration that only occurred because of a hole torn in the fabric of the universe. Well, it seems that The Snap wasn’t only powerful enough to pit DC against its comic book rival, but it also broke down the walls between the Marvel Cinematic Universes of Marvel Studios and the former 20th Century Fox contingent.

In a brilliant streak of fire, as seen at the end of her self-titled X-Men film, Jean Grey, the Dark Phoenix herself, fell out of the ‘90’s and into a pre-Avengers: Infinity War face off. Not understanding where or when she was, military forces tried to enforce the Sokovia Accords, labeling her as an outlaw. At that exact moment, Jean Grey enforced her powers into those soldiers’ faces.

Chaos broke out, and in a last ditch effort, Secretary of State Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross revoked the accords and brought Tony Stark back into the fold. Stark has been given carte blanche to assemble a team of Avengers that could at least keep Jean Grey in check. Before pulling together his crew, being the analytical genius that he is, Tony first looks at Jean Grey’s weaknesses and strengths.

Dark Phoenix Jean Grey's fiery face in front of some burning wreckage

Dark Phoenix (Jean Grey)

When she’s her garden variety self, Jean Grey is roughly on a similar wavelength as Professor Xavier when it comes to powers. She can read people’s minds, manipulate items with her mental powers and can be pretty strong with both.

However, once the mental stability imposed upon her psyche by Professor X himself is compromised, the Dark Phoenix comes out to play. Amp up her powers to god-like levels, give her one hell of an attitude, and you can see why humanity would need all the help they can get. It should also be noted that while her powers were pretty amped in Dark Phoenix, that was because of the presence of the D’Bari Phoenix Force.

For the sake of this exercise, we’ll say that Jean still has some of that power within her, enough to be a massive threat to the world. While the Dark Phoenix can still be reasoned with, as Jean is still very much a part of this phenomenon, it’s a task that should only be approached by those who have the most skilled finesse in personal dynamics. That, or you’re going to need a shit ton of superpowers to try and subdue her in the least. Luckily, Tony can find both.

Captain America: Civil War Tony crying in front of Cap

Iron Man (Tony Stark)

Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, is mostly known for his wit, his hidden soft side and the ability to make technological marvels the likes of which most have never seen. His genius can maneuver The Avengers out of most situations, but the powers of Jean Grey’s Dark Phoenix are certainly an exception.

Tony’s good at building things and achieving victory through superior firepower. What he’s not good at is keeping his emotions in check, which would present a huge problem for his team, as it tends to do throughout the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

However, there’s one thing he can do, and that’s protect his team with his tech. Working off of the “tin foil hat” method, Stark would craft helmets for his Avengers team that would help block Jean’s mind powers. Which means he’d probably need to bring an old friend back to the table.

Avengers: Infinity War Steve Rogers with his post-Civil War beard

Captain America (Steve Rogers)

Much like Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, would need to be extremely careful around the Dark Phoenix, as his mental state has a couple exposed cracks that could be exploited. All Jean Grey would need to do is bring up Bucky’s turn to the Winter Soldier or the loss of Peggy Carter, and Steve would be unhinged.

While he is mortal, Captain America still has some pretty solid strength in his being. Not to mention, his tactical know-how would be an asset to the Avengers team in the heat of battle. Reuniting with Tony Stark would put the team of Iron Man and Captain America back together to hopefully win the day.

That’s still not enough though, and in order to save Earth from the conquest of the Dark Phoenix, help will need to arrive from the most unlikely of places. If Steve and Tony are lucky, help might drop out of the sky not too long after Jean Grey did.

Avengers: Infinity War Thor charges up his lightning attack

Thor (Thor)

Much like his return in Avengers: Infinity War, Thor would more than likely find his way back to Earth through the help of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Only this time, the threat to the planet wouldn’t be Thanos the Mad Titan, it’d be Jean Grey and her Dark Phoenix powers. I guess it’s a good thing the Avengers would have a Norse god on their side then.

Thor’s lightning powers would be the closest thing he’d have to protect his Avengers teammates, and it would probably help out to a certain degree. His god-like power and stamina would make him less susceptible to the slings and arrows his more mortal teammates would succumb to, but he’d still have their common weakness.

His mental state could be compromised with thoughts of his dead parents, any of his adopted brother Loki’s betrayals or even the departure of Jane Foster. That makes three teammates that’d need to be fitted for new vibranium-plated helmets. If only the team had someone who could tap into the mind themselves.

Avengers: Infinity War Mantis looks concerned on board the Benatar

Mantis (Mantis)

With Thor’s return via the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the threat of someone who’s lethal to the mind at stake, Mantis would be a valuable addition to the team. As the entire team wouldn’t need to jump into the fray, the empathetically powered alien would be a vital piece to The Avengers’ success apparatus.

Her powers of empathy and understanding were enough to not only keep Ego the Living Planet under some degree of control, but they were almost successful in defeating Thanos in the Avengers: Infinity War conflict. Though since this is a universe that works on the principle of that conflict not existing, her abilities are still known.

Of course, with any mental powers, there would still be a limit to how far they can stretch. With Jean Grey’s power levels as the Dark Phoenix being pretty damned high, it’d be recommended that more than one person of such power be present on the team.

Avengers: Infinity War Scarlet Witch crying as she uses her powers

Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff)

Lo and behold, the Scarlet Witch would pick this time to come back to the team, as not only would she see the news about Jean Grey’s campaign of havoc and be worried for herself and Vision, but also she might be curious to try and diffuse the situation with diplomacy.

As she’s proven to be powerful enough to also give Thanos a run for his money in the universe where Avengers: Endgame has still taken place, Wanda Maximoff would have the strength to team up as a powerful mental defense with fellow empath Mantis.

More importantly, her similar background to Jean Grey as an outcast with mutant-like powers would be great common ground for the two to explore. Their common backgrounds would be a plus, but if she’s not careful, Jean could flip the tables and send Wanda into a frenzy. Should that be the case, the Avengers wouldn’t stand a chance.

Captain Marvel Carol Danvers within the Supreme Intelligence

Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)

Last, but not least, we’re going to need some more power on The Avengers’ side. Someone who has a lot of physical strength and can provide the ultimate defense when teamed with everyone else mentioned. Just as this thought crosses the mind of the team, another assist from outer space arrives, thanks to Nick Fury’s pager: Captain Marvel’s Carol Danvers.

An extremely powered human/alien hybrid, Danvers would be able to unleash her cosmic powers as a deflection towards anything that Dark Phoenix would throw her way. The woman can crash through a powerful spaceship, destroying the whole damned thing with her enhancements that she accidentally absorbed during that fateful flight that almost killed her.

Her defenses are more in the realm of brute strength, much like the rest of the non-mentally powered Avengers team. But she’d be a fantastic asset in the fight against the menace that is Jean Grey’s unstable alter-ego, and the last piece on the board before the action would begin.

Dark Phoenix Jean Grey grabs Magneto and starts to burn him inside out

The Avengers vs. Dark Phoenix

Our six members of the Avengers at the ready, Jean Grey would begin to use her Dark Phoenix powers on the Avengers without mind powers. However, thanks to Tony Stark’s vibranium helmets, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Captain Marvel would not only have fantastic headdresses, but they’d be safe from mental suggestion.

Launching their counter-attack, The Avengers would start with physical attacks to open a path for Mantis/Scarlet Witch to make their way to Jean’s person, so they can begin the mental battle required. Using Tony’s repulsors, Cap’s shield and the double whammy of Thor’s thunder and Captain Marvel’s cosmic powers, an all-out physical assault would be launched, in hopes of weakening Dark Phoenix into a state where Jean Grey is the dominant personality in control.

Once Mantis and Scarlet Witch are in place, the true battle would begin, as both would try to harness Jean Grey’s abilities back into a realm of control. Their mental resistance would show Jean that not only can they not be easily swayed by her powers, but also that others like her exist.

In the presence of common company, and with the right persuasion from Mantis and Scarlet Witch, the day would theoretically be saved. Though should diplomacy fail, the strong minds of these two would be able to help destroy the physical body of Jean Grey, thus ending the Dark Phoenix’s reign temporarily. Needless to say, destruction isn't the best option, as The Phoenix would only return and start the cycle all over again.

The worst case scenario would see Mantis, Scarlet Witch and Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix destroyed with an artillery barrage the likes of which have never been seen, as well as some help from Captain Marvel herself. In the best case scenario, Jean would be subdued through diplomatic efforts, and no one would have to die. Come to think of it, Jean could seek herself out in this version of the Marvel universe, and get a better understanding of herself.

There are a lot of mitigating factors that could sway the battle either way, but we’d like to think that thanks to the brain power of Wanda and Mantis, we wouldn’t have to see anyone lose their life over this conflict. Really, it's either you get repetitive cycles of combat against Dark Phoenix resulting in fatigue and/or death, or you get a sustainable fight with a diplomatic solution that leaves some scars and damage, but doesn't end anyone's life completely.

Scenarios can be won or lost by the slightest shifts of fate, so if you have any sorts of hypotheticals you’d like to throw into the pool, hit the comments below and chime in on how this battle could be won or lost. As for us, we’re just going to leave a poll down below to cap off this statistical battle analysis, in hopes that we can see how the public thinks this battle would go down, were it to be an actual fight.

This poll is no longer available.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.